I think I feel like a real triathlete now… Chicago Triathlon Pre-Race

I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon yesterday, and in addition to completing the ‘standard’ distance, I think I accomplished a few other things that make me a real triathlete now:

  • Got swum over by another athlete
  • Completed the bike ride without a freak out (and actually pretty fast for me!)
  • Helped someone out yesterday
  • Had a nutrition failure but handled not having porta-potties on the run course
  • Biked in the rain (after the race)

So backing up, the morning started bright and early with a 3:20 AM wakeup call, and leaving for the race at 4:15 AM.  The Chicago Triathlon’s transition area closes at 5:45 AM, even though my wave on the swim wouldn’t start until just after 8 AM.  Two good friends, Anna & Lilian, were volunteering & carpooled with me and helped keep me calm until we had to separate for me to go into transition.

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That’s me being goofy, with my Speedfill drink setup on my bike.  I rode my bike to transition, and then had to deal with finding a spot to set up. This was a bit stressful, as there were 7000+ people trying to set up here and no one wanted to share their space. I actually had people tell me “No” when I asked to take the empty space next to them.  Luckily this guy came out from no where and helped find me a spot (and hold it until I could navigate my bike around to put into the space).  I then set up my bike & transition gear.

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In my transition space, I placed a bandana next to my bike (so I can find my spot when I return after the bike ride), filled the Speedfill with Gatorade, and put my Garmin on the bike.  In my helmet went my snack (Honey Stinger waffle), bike gloves, and sunglasses. 

I also set my ground transition space up:  socks, bike shoes, Gatorade in a bottle, clif shots (just in case), and my run kit:  running shoes, visor holding my race belt & bib. 

Then I went through to figure out how to find my transition spot when I come in from the swim (“Swim In”) and also where I’d need to go when I take my bike out for the ride (“Bike Out”).  It was still pretty dark out, so this was important to figure out.  My main helper was that someone about 12 bikes down on my row had taped a big fake pussy willow branch standing up from the bike rack.  While I had my general surroundings based on the Wave number, this was a much more specific landmark. 

As I was heading out from transition (and trying to figure out how I’d while away the next 2 hours), I ran into Joanne & Amy – friends from CES!  It was so good to see familiar faces, as I was still feeling incredibly nervous.  We all headed over to the Chicago Endurance Sports tent to chill before the race really started for us.  We weren’t too far from Swim Start, so we had a good view of what waves were lining up. 

Other pre-race photos:

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We chilled at the Chicago Endurance Sports tent before the race. 

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My friend Amy who was so excited for the race!  She also saw Rahm run by while Joanne, Tim & I went to the bathrooms.

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I look a bit constipated here, but it’s just that I don’t have my sunglasses on. This is just before I dropped my bag off at Swim gear check.  The guy over my left shoulder (on the right side of the photo) was actually the guy who helped me out in transition. Thank you mystery man! 

OK – will actually right about the race and share tomorrow! 

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